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Naked Lunch (1991)

R  |   |  Drama  |  24 April 1992 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 33,466 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 148 user | 102 critic | 16 from Metacritic.com

After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, an exterminator accidentally murders his wife and becomes involved in a secret government plot being orchestrated by giant bugs in a port town in North Africa.


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13 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Monique Mercure ...
Robert A. Silverman ...
Kiki (as Joseph Scorsiani)
Peter Boretski ...
Creature Voices / Exterminator #2
Yuval Daniel ...
John Friesen ...
Sean McCann ...
Howard Jerome ...


Not an adaptation of beat writer William S. Burrough's novel but a mix of biography and an interpretation of his drug- induced writing processes combined with elements of his work in this paranoid fantasy about Bill Lee, a writer who accidentally shoots his wife, whose typewriter transforms into a cockroach and who becomes involved in a mysterious plot in North African port called Interzone. Wonderfully bizarre, not unlike Burrough's books. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Exterminate all rational thought. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for heavy drug content, bizarre eroticism, and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |



Release Date:

24 April 1992 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$16,000,000 (estimated)


$2,541,541 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Trailers for this film featured footage of William S. Burroughs shot in the 1960s, with an impersonator providing narration about the irony of how a book that was banned and censored has now been made into a movie. See more »


[first lines]
Bill Lee: Exterminator.
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Creeping Terror (1994) See more »


Composed by Thelonious Monk
Published by Bocca Music Ltd.
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User Reviews

Introduction to the New Flesh
22 October 1999 | by (Paris, France) – See all my reviews

Movies in the last years have become more uniform, more streamlined, particularly in the US. As a result, the film market is full of sleek, entertaining movies that the whole world goes to see, but these movies have nothing but harmless baby teeth. Fortunately, people like Lynch or Cronenberg still do movies that may be considered defective by most people, but that bite into the flesh with pointy canines. The Naked Lunch has very sharp teeth indeed. It's supposed to be an adaptation from a William Burrough's book, which doesn't make sense anyway. It starts as the story of a failed writer whose wife becomes addicted to an insecticide powder... It goes downhill after this relatively sane and normal beginning. It's a ride, a drug-induced nightmare full of horribly funny visions (the sort of visions that artists used centuries ago to represent hell). Anuses talk. Aliens sip alcohol in bars. People get impaled. Typewriters turn into bugs. Liquids ooze. You may say it's flawed, or disgusting, or ridiculous, or boring. I saw it with someone who absolutely hated it. But the fact that this person still keeps talking about it 8 years after seeing it says a lot about the Naked Lunch, at a time when we tend to forget blockbusters a few hours after watching them. The Naked Lunch is here - in your mind - to stay.

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